Bet of the Card: (2u) Ramiz Brahimaj Inside The Distance @ +195 (to Return 5.9 Units)
Preliminary Card Opener - Welterweight (170lbs) Bout – Approx. Start Time: 7:15 p.m. EST.
- Sasha Palatnikov has been finished in all 3 of his losses (2 KO/TKO, 1 Submission).
- All 8 of Ramiz Brahimaj’s wins have come via Submission.
This seems like one of those spots that looks too good to be true. On one side we’ve got a fighter who has won all of his fights inside the distance (Brahimaj), and on the other, a 6-3 fighter, who’s lost all of his fights inside the distance (Palatnikov). At face value, it looks like a slam dunk spot to bet Brahimaj inside the distance, and at near 2-to-1, it really is.
These kind of betting lines give me cause for concern, it’s almost like the bookies know something, or have seen something I haven’t, but to me, it just looks like they’ve hung a bad number. Palatnikov has shown to be a little chinny, and his ground game doesn’t look to be UFC-level.
Brahimaj on the other hand, does look capable of taking damage, and fighting for your money. It needs to be said that in his last fight he looked terrible against Max Griffin, as he appeared unwilling to focus his gameplan around his grappling, which is by far his strongest attribute. But, you’d have to figure that he’ll revert to what got him into the UFC in the first place, especially against someone not even remotely close to Griffin’s level.
Takedowns will be available to Brahimaj here, and if he looks for them, he should dominate on the ground, leading to a stoppage on the mat. I will say, although Brahimaj’s not a great striker, I still think he’s got the tools to KO Palatnikov on the feet too, so I wouldn’t get instantly worried if he doesn’t go to the grappling straight away.
(1u) Roosevelt Roberts Moneyline @ -138 (to Return 1.727 Units)
(0.5u) Roosevelt Roberts Inside The Distance @ +320 (to Return 2.1 Units)
Preliminary Card - Lightweight (155lbs) Bout – Approx. Start Time: 7:45 p.m. EST.
- 8 of Roosevelt Roberts’ 10 wins have come inside the distance (3 KO/TKO, 5 Submissions).
- Ignacio Bahamondes has an 11-4 record, with 2 of his 4 losses coming via submission (per Tapology.com).
Roosevelt Roberts has proven himself to be a little untrustworthy at this point in his career. For a time, he was beating fighters that he should overcome decisively, but after 2 quick first round finish losses, it appears like bettors and bookies alike are cooling on him. As for myself, I still see the skills and what he brings to the table, I just think caution needs to be taken when betting him.
Ignacio Bahamondes is a DWC alumni that got absolutely taken apart in his last fight against the ghost of John Makdessi. It wasn’t a great look for the young Chilean, Bahamondes, but he was still able to showcase his toughness and some flashy techniques, if not much else.
Roberts is the fighter that has shown us more of what he can do, and against a better level of opposition, and for me, that’s worth a lot against a 23-year-old, relatively unknown, South American “prospect”. Bahamondes might come out Saturday night and put on a masterclass, showing that his fight against Makdessi was simply due to UFC jitters, but from what we’ve seen from both guys, this line just feels a little cheap. I’m taking a stand on Roberts’ moneyline at -138 for one unit, and I’m also making a half unit play on his inside the distance prop, as I can see him causing Bahamondes a lot of problems if this fight gets to the ground.
(1u) Kelvin Gastelum via Decision @ +410 (to Return 5.1 Units)
Main Event - Middleweight (185lbs) Bout – Approx. Start Time: 00:45 a.m. EST.
- Jared Cannonier is 1-3 in his fights that have gone to decision in the UFC.
- Cannonier has a takedown defense percentage of just 54% (per UFCStats.com), which could play a big role against Gastelum, a fighter who is known for chain grappling a lot in his fights.
Cannonier (pictured below) is one of the rare fighters in the UFC to have competed within 3 different weight classes (HW, LHW, and MW). He has experienced his fair share of KO wins and KO losses, however, since moving down to MW, he’s looked unphased by the power of anyone he’s faced. He’s now 37 years old, and although that would often be a concern, he’s only been fighting as a pro since he was 27, and he’s in great physical shape, so the wear and tear isn’t a major concern for me.
Gastelum has had a turbulent career at middleweight, he’s had some great success building him up to his interim title fight against Israel Adesanya, but since then, he’s gone 1-4, albeit against top competition. He is notoriously durable, and that should serve him tremendously well against Cannonier, a fighter who has often shown to be reliant on scoring KOs, as otherwise, he tends to find himself on the wrong end of decisions.
Gastelum hasn’t been having the most success recently, but many of the fighters he’s fought have been better evasive strikers than Cannonier, and that has hindered his ability to get in-close and implement his wrestler-boxer style. With Cannonier, however, I see him getting the opportunity to close distance and meet in the middle a lot more. Cannonier can manage range, and he does have some wicked leg kicks to help him do so, but he’s less technically savvy than fighters like Robert Whittaker, Darren Till, and Israel Adesanya (pictured below), and this can offer Gastelum the opening he needs to implement his style of fight.
Ultimately, this is a close fight, and it’s been lined accordingly, but I do see some decent value on Gastelum’s decision prop. Although he does have power in his hands, he hasn’t shown the same propensity to score the knockout as he did in his initial run at MW, and I don’t see that likely changing here against Cannonier. Furthermore, Gastelum hasn’t even attempted a submission in his last 14 fights (per UFCStats.com), so it’d be even less likely that he’d be able to pull one off against Cannonier, a fighter who has never been submitted. So, with all this said, I don’t see Gastelum securing the finish at any decent rate, yet I feel confident in saying he should be in a competitive fight, and that his durability will stand up to Cannonier’s power, meaning that it should go the distance most of the time. This would normally mean that I simply opt for playing the over, but given that I’m getting 4-to-1 on the guy I favor winning the decision, versus the even money “fight goes the distance prop”, I just have to take it for the added value.
Scroll down to view event details, odds & Christian’s full card predictions.
Event: UFC Fight Night: Cannonier vs. Gastelum / UFC on ESPN 29 / UFC Vegas 34 / #UFCVegas34
Location & Venue: UFC Apex, Las Vegas, Nevada, United States
Date: Saturday, August 21st, 2021
Start time: Main Card: 10 p.m. EST, Prelims 7 p.m. EST.
Where to watch: Main Card on ESPN/ESPN+, Prelims on ESPN2/ESPN+
UFC Fight Night: Cannonier vs. Gastelum Full Fight Card Predictions
UFC Fight Night: Cannonier vs. Gastelum Main Event Prediction
Middleweight (185lbs): Jared Cannonier vs. Kelvin Gastelum – Gastelum via Decision
UFC Fight Night: Cannonier vs. Gastelum Main Card Predictions
Lightweight (155lbs): Clay Guida vs. Mark O. Madsen – Madsen via Decision
Heavyweight (265lbs): Parker Porter vs. Chase Sherman – Sherman via KO/TKO
Bantamweight (135lbs): Trevin Jones vs. Saidyokub Kakhramonov – Jones via KO/TKO
Lightweight (155lbs): Vinc Pichel vs. Austin Hubbard – Pichel via Decision
Flyweight (125lbs): Alexandre Pantoja vs. Brandon Royval – Pantoja via Decision
UFC Fight Night: Cannonier vs. Gastelum Prelim Card Predictions
Featherweight (145lbs): Austin Lingo vs. Luis Saldaña – Lingo via Decision
Bantamweight (135lbs): Brian Kelleher vs. Domingo Pilarte – Kelleher via Submission
(W) Bantamweight (135lbs): Bea Malecki vs. Josiane Nunes – Malecki via Decision
Light Heavyweight (205lbs): William Knight vs. Fabio Cherant – Knight via KO/TKO
Lightweight (155lbs): Roosevelt Roberts vs. Ignacio Bahamondes – Roberts via Submission
Welterweight (170lbs): Sasha Palatnikov vs. Ramiz Brahimaj – Brahimaj via Submission
*Fight card, bout order and number of fights subject to change.